Friday, 15 July 2011

bus driving S.A. style

I'm not exactly sure how many miles we have covered so far, but it's further than Land's End to John o' Groats.
The roads in this part of S.A. present a few more problems than any roads in UK and most roads in other parts of S.A.
Firstly the phantom speed trap! Police cars hidden behind banks of earth ready to pounce on the unwary. We have seen about 5 police car traps each day. News on the radio tells us that 4 traffic officers have been susupended for corruption, including pocketing fine money, a nice little earner!
Secondly, the speed bump. Many of these are brightly painted and signposted, others have no sign and the paint has worn off. At any speed above 0.00001 km per hour these are more like weapons of mass destruction and I believe are sponsored by the S.A. equivalent of KwikFit.
Next, the other drivers. Overtaking happens anywhere at anytime. Overtaking a car which is already overtaking another is commonplace, giving a line of three cars travelling side by side on a single carriageway! Whether or not something is coming the other way is of no importance. In the UK, most drivers leave reasonable gap between themselves and the car in front. If you do that her someone will pull into it within 20 seconds. However if you don't leave a reasonable gap, someone will pull into it anyway!
Obstructions. If we ignore the various livestock which crosses the road at random (goats, and cattle mainly), we have had to negotiate 3 dead dogs, 1 dead chicken, 1 dead small furry animal of unknown identity, 1 dead cow, 1 wooden packing crate, 1 large metal bucket, and 1 drunken man who lay down in front of the bus after telling the driver (in fairly good english) that he was his best mate ever and he loved him!
All the above has happened on the proper roads which have tarmac. In the communities, the roads are largely flattened strips of sand, with potholes the size of dustbins and the odd randomly positioned brick or bottle.
Despite all this, we havent broken any bits of buses or any bits of the students, and are all jolly proud of ourselves.
Tomorrow we drive through Kruger game park, where we have been told that it is not uncommon for deadly black mambas to launch themselves through open car windows!! Sleep tight everybody!
Barry
p.s. to T.H.J.E. miss you lots, love you more. XXXX